Birds - Part III - The Zoology of the Voyage of H.M.S Beagle
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Birds - Part III - The Zoology of the Voyage of H.M.S Beagle

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205 pages
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First published in 1842, this vintage book contains part three of Charles Darwin's “The Zoology of The Voyage of H.M.S. Beagle”, a fascinating and detailed account of the research he did whilst aboard the HMS Beagle between 1832 and 1836—work that played a key role in the conception of his scientific theories on evolution and natural selection. This part concentrates on the various birds that he encountered and studied around the world. Contents include: “Vulturidae”, “Cathartes Atratus”, “Cathartes Aura”, “Falconidae”, “Milvago, Spix”, “Milvago Pezoporos”, “Milvago Chimango”, “Milvago Leucurus”, “Milvagoi Albogularis”, etc. Charles Robert Darwin (1809 – 1882) was an English geologist, naturalist, and biologist most famous for his contributions to the science of evolution and his book “On the Origin of Species” (1859). Many vintage books such as this are increasingly scarce and expensive. We are republishing this volume now in an affordable, modern, high-quality edition complete with a specially-commissioned new introduction on ornithology.

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Date de parution 16 octobre 2020
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EAN13 9781528768948
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THE
ZOOLOGY
OF
THE VOYAGE OF H.M.S. BEAGLE,
UNDER THE COMMAND OF CAPTAIN FITZROY, R.N.,
DURING THE YEARS
1832 TO 1836.
PUBLISHED WITH THE APPROVAL OF THE LORDS COMMISSIONERS OF HER MAJESTY S TREASURY .
Edited and Superiutended by
CHARLES DARWIN, ESQ. M.A. F.R.S. S EC . G.S.
NATURALIST TO THE EXPEDITION .


PART III.
BIRDS,
BY
JOHN GOULD, ESQ. F.L.S.
Copyright 2018 Read Books Ltd.
This book is copyright and may not be
reproduced or copied in any way without
the express permission of the publisher in writing
British Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data
A catalogue record for this book is available from
the British Library
CONTENTS
Ornithology
CORRIGENDA.
LIST OF PLATES.
ADVERTISEMENT.
FAMILY-VULTURID .
FAMILY-FALCONID .
FAMILY.-STRIGID .
FAMILY.-CAPRIMULGID .
FAMILY.-HIRUNDINID .
FAMILY.-HALCYONID .
FAMILY.-MUSCICAPID . Vieill .
FAMILY.-LANIAD .
FAMILY.-TURDID .
FAMILY.-SYLVIAD .
FAMILY.-FRINGILLID .
FAMILY.-TROCHILID .
APPENDIX.
INDEX TO THE SPECIES.
Ornithology
Ornithology is a branch of zoology that concerns the study of birds. Etymologically, the word ornithology derives from the ancient Greek ornis (bird) and logos (rationale or explanation). The science of ornithology has a long history and studies on birds have helped develop several key concepts in evolution, behaviour and ecology such as the definition of species, the process of speciation, instinct, learning, ecological niches and conservation. Whilst early ornithology was principally concerned with descriptions and distributions of species, ornithologists today seek answers to very specific questions, often using birds as models to test hypotheses or predictions based on theories. However, most modern biological theories apply across taxonomic groups, and consequently, the number of professional scientists who identify themselves as ornithologists has declined. That this specific science has become part of the biological mainstream though, is in itself a testament to the field s importance.
Humans observed birds from the earliest times, and Stone Age drawings are among the oldest indications of an interest in birds, primarily due to their importance as a food source. One of the first key texts on ornithology was Aristotle s Historia Animalium (350 BC), in which he noted the habit of bird migration, moulting, egg laying and life span. He also propagated several, unfortunately false myths, such as the idea that swallows hibernated in winter. This idea became so well established, that even as late as 1878, Elliott Coues (an American surgeon, historian and ornithologist) could list as many as 182 contemporary publications dealing with the hibernation of swallows. In the Seventeenth century, Francis Willughby (1635-1672) and John Ray (1627-1705) came up with the first major system of bird classification that was based on function and morphology rather than on form or behaviour, this was a major breakthrough in terms of scientific thought, and Willughby s Ornithologiae libri tres (1676), completed by John Ray is often thought to mark the beginning of methodical ornithology. It was not until the Victorian era though, with the emergence of the gun and the concept of natural history, that ornithology emerged as a specialized science. This specialization led to the formation in Britain of the British Ornithologists Union in 1858, and the following year, its journal The Ibis was founded.
This sudden spurt in ornithology was also due in part to colonialism. The bird collectors of the Victorian era observed the variations in bird forms and habits across geographic regions, noting local specialization and variation in widespread species. The collections of museums and private collectors grew with contributions from various parts of the world. This spread of the science meant that many amateurs became interested in bird watching - with real possibilities to contribute knowledge. As early as 1916, Julian Huxley wrote a two part article in the Auk , noting the tensions between amateurs and professionals and suggesting that the vast army of bird-lovers and bird-watchers could begin providing the data scientists needed to address the fundamental problems of biology. Organizations were started in many countries and these grew rapidly in membership, most notable among them being the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), founded in 1889 in Britain and the Audubon Society, founded in 1885 in the US.
Today, the science of ornithology is thriving, with many practical and economic applications such as the management of birds in food production (grainivorous birds, such as the Red billed Quelea are a major agricultural pest in parts of Africa), and the study of birds, as carriers of human diseases, such as Japanese Encephalitis, West Nile Virus, and H5N1. Of course, many species of birds have been driven to (or near) extinction by human activities, and hence ornithology has played an important part in conservation, utilising many location specific approaches. Critically endangered species such as the California Condor have been captured and bred in captivity, and it is hoped that many more birds can be saved in a like manner.
CORRIGENDA.


I am indebted to Mr. G. R. Gray for the following remarks and corrections:-
Page 13 , to Milvago ocrocephalus, Spix . add Polyborus ocrocephalus, Jard . Selby s Ill . t. 5.
Alter 7, 8, 9, 10, to 5, 6, 7, 8.
Page 15 , Milvago leucurus, add
Falco Australis, Jard. Selby s Ill. Orn . n. s. pl. 24.
Page 49 , Serpophaga, Gould , is probably synonymous with Euscarthmus, Pr. Max .
Page 56 , Agriornis, Gould , is synonymous with Dasycephala of Swainson, and Tamnolanius, of Lesson; the species therefore should be
sp. 1. D. lividus, G. R. Gray .
Thamnophilus lividus, Kittl. Voy.de Chili , pl.l.
Tyrannus gutturalis, Eyd . Gerv . c .
sp. 2. D. striata, G. R. Gray .
Agr. striatus, Gould .
Agr. micropterus, juv. Gould , sp. 3.
Page 57 , sp. 4. D. maritima, G. R. Gray .
Agr. maritimus, G. R. Gray , c.
Page 66 . The generic appellation of Opetiorhynchus, was adopted after the subjection of Mr. Gould; since its publication, however, I have considered that it might cause confusion with Furnarius, of Vieillot, as it is Temminck s name for the identical same division, therefore only a synonym, and am on that ground induced to change and propose the name of Cinclodes, which has been adopted by a Continental writer. The species should be altered thus:-
Page 66 , Sp. 1. Cinclodes vulgaris, G. R. Gray .
Page 67 , sp. 2. C. Patagonicus, G. R. Gray, List of the Genera of Birds .
sp. 3. C. antarcticus, G. R. Gray .
Cinclodes fuliginosus, Less .
Page 68 , sp. 4. C. nigrofumosus, G. R. Gray .
Page 69 , Eremobius, being previously employed, it is changed to Enicornis, G. R. Gray . The species to
En. ph nicurus, G. R. Gray, List of the Genera of Birds .
Page 70 , Rhinomya, being also previously employed; it is therefore changed to Rhinocrypta, G. R. Gray .
The species to
R. lanceolata, G. R. Gray .
Page 76 , for Synallaxis major, Gould , read Anumbius acuticaudatus, G. R. Gray .
Furnarius annumbi, Vieill .
L Anumbi, Azara , No. 222.
Anthus acuticaudatus, Less .
Anumbius anthoides, D Orb . Lefr .
Page 94 , Fringilla fruticeti, Kittl . gives place to Fringilla erythrorhyncha, Less. Voy. Thetis . Ii. p. 324.
LIST OF PLATES.


Plate I.
Milvago albogularis.
II.
Craxirex Galapagoensis.
III.
Otus Galapagoensis.
IV.
Strix punctatissima.
V.
Progne modestus.
VI.
Pyrocephalus parvirostris.
VII.
nanus.
VIII.
Tyrannula magnirostris.
IX.
Lichenops erythropterus.
X.
Fluvicola Azar .
XI.
Xolmis variegata, in place of T nioptera variegata.
XII.
Agriornis micropterus.
XIII.
leucurus.
XIV.
Pachyramphus albescens.
XV.
minimus.
XVI.
Mimus trifasciatus.
XVII.
melanotis.
XVIII.
parvulus.
XIX.
Uppucertbia dumetoria, in place of Upercerthia dumetaria.
XX.
Opetiorhynchus nigrofumosus, in place of Opetiorhynchus lanccolatus.
XXI.
Eremobius ph nicurus.
XXII.
Anumbius acuticaudatus, in place of Synallaxis major.
XXIII.
Synallaxis rufogularis.
XXIV.
flavogularis.
Plate XXV.
Limnornis curvirostris.
XXVI.
rectirostris.
XXVII.
Dendrodamus leucostemus
XXVIII.
Sylvicola aureola.
XXIX.
Ammodramus longicaudatus.
XXX.
Ammodramus Manimb , in place of Ammodramus xanthornus.
XXXI.
Passer Jagoensis.
XXXII.
Chlorospiza melanodera.
XXXIII.
xanthogramma.
XXXIV.
Aglaia striata, in place of Tanagra Darwinii.
XXXV.
Pipilo personata.
XXXVI.
Geospiza magnirostris.
XXXVII.
strenua.
XXXVIII.
fortis.
XXXIX.
parvula.
XL.
Camarhynchus psittaculus.
XLI.
erassirostris.
XLII.
Cactornis scandens.
XLIII.
assimilis.
XLIV.
Certhidea olivacea.
XLV.
Xanthornus flaviceps.
XLVI.
Zenaida Galapagoensis.
XLVII.
Rhea Darwinii.
XLVIII.
Zapornia notata.
XLIX.
spilonota.
L.
Anser melanopterus.
ADVERTISEMENT.


W HEN I presented my collection of Birds to the Zoological Society, Mr. Gould kindly undertook to furnish me with descriptions of the new species and names of those already known. This he has performed, but owing to the hurry, consequent on his departure for Australia,-an expedition from which the science of Ornithology will derive such great advantages,-he was compelled to leave some part of his manuscript so far incomplete, that without the possibility of personal communication with him, I was left in doubt on some essential points. Mr. George Robert Gray, the ornithological assistant in the Zoological department of the British Museum, has in the most obliging manner undertaken to obviate this difficulty, by furnishing me with information with respect to some parts of the general arrangement, and likewise on that most intricate subject,-the knowledge of what species have already been described, and the use of proper generic terms. I shall endeavour in every part of the text to refer to Mr. G. R. Gray s assistance, where I have used it. As some of Mr. Gould s descriptions appeared to me brief, I have enlarged them, but have always endeavoured to retain his specific character; so that, by this means, I trust I shall not throw any obscurity on what he considers the essential character in each case; but at the same time, I hope, that these additional remarks may render the work more complete.
The accompanying illustrations, which are fifty in number, were taken from sketches made by Mr. Gould himself, and executed on stone by Mrs. Gould, with that admirable success, which has attended all her works. They are all of the natural size with the exception of four raptorial birds, a goose and a species of Rhea. As the dimensions of these latter birds are given, their proportional reduction will readily be seen. I had originally intended to have added the initial letter of my name to the account of the habits and ranges, and that of Mr. Gould s to the description of the genera and species; but as it may be known that he is responsible for the latter, and myself for the former, this appeared to me useless; and I have, therefore, thought it better to incorporate all general remarks in my own name, stating on every occasion my authority, so that wherever the personal pronoun is used it refers to myself. Finally, I must remark, that after the excellent dissertation, now in the course of publication, on the habits and distribution of the birds of South America by M. Alcide D Orbigny, in which he has combined his own extended observations with those of Azara, my endeavour to add anything to our information on this subject, may at first be thought superfluous. But as during the Beagle s voyage, I visited some portions of America south of the range of M. D Orbigny s travels, I shall relate in order the few facts, which I have been enabled to collect together; and these, if not new, may at least tend to confirm former accounts. I have, however, thought myself obliged to omit some parts, which otherwise I should have given; and, after having read the published portion of M. D Orbigny s great work, I have corrected some errors, into which I had fallen. I have not, however, altered any thing simply because it differs from what that gentleman may have written; but only where I have been convinced that my means of observation were inferior to his.
BIRDS.


F AMILY -VULTURID .
S ARCORAMPHUS GRYPHUS. Bonap .
Vultur gryphus, Linn .
, Humb . Zoolog. p. 31.
Sarcoramphus Condor, D Orbigny . Voy. Ois.
Condor of the inhabitants of South America.
T HE Condor is known to have a wide range, being found on the west coast of South America, from the Strait of Magellan, throughout the range of the Cordillera, as far, according to M. D Orbigny, as 8 north latitude. On the Patagonian shore, the steep cliff near the mouth of the Rio Negro, in latitude 41 , was the most northern point where I ever saw these birds, or heard of their existence; and they have there wandered about four hundred miles from the great central line of their habitation in the Andes. Further south, among the bold precipices which form the head of Port Desire, they are not uncommon; yet only a few stragglers occasionally visit the sea-coast. A line of cliff near the mouth of the Santa Cruz is frequented by these birds, and about eighty miles up the river, where the sides of the valley were formed by steep basaltic precipices, the Condor again appeared, although in the intermediate space not one had been seen. From these and similar facts, I believe that the presence of this bird is chiefly determined by the occurrence of perpendicular cliffs. In Patagonia the Condors, either by pairs or many together, both sleep and breed on the same overhanging ledges. In Chile, however, during the greater part of the year, they haunt the lower country, near the shores of the Pacific, and at night several roost in one tree; but in the early part of summer they retire to the most inaccessible parts of the inner Cordillera, there to breed in peace.
With respect to their propagation, I was told by the country people in Chile, that the Condor makes no sort of nest, but in the months of November and December, lays two large white eggs on a shelf of bare rock. Certainly, on the Patagonian coast, I could not see any sort of nest among the cliffs, where the young ones were standing. I was told that the young Condors could not fly for a whole year, but this probably was a mistake, since M. D Orbigny says they take to the wing in about a month and a half after being hatched. On the fifth of March (corresponding to our September), I saw a young bird at Concepcion, which, though in size only little inferior to a full-grown one, was completely covered by down, like that of a gosling, but of a blackish colour. I can, however, scarcely believe that this bird could have used, for some months subsequently, its wings for flight. After the period when the young Condor can fly, apparently as well as the old birds, they yet remain (as I observed in Patagonia) both roosting at night on the same ledge, and hunting by day with their parents: but before the young bird has the ruff round its neck white, it may often be seen hunting by itself. At the mouth of the Santa Cruz, during part of April and May, a pair of old birds might be seen every day, either perched on a certain ledge, or sailing about in company with a single young one, which latter, though full fledged, had not its ruff white.
The Condors generally live by pairs; but among the basaltic cliffs of the plains, high up the river Santa Cruz, I found a spot where scores must usually haunt. They were not shy; and on coming suddenly to the brow of the precipice, it was a fine sight to see between twenty and thirty of these great * birds start heavily from their resting place, and wheel away in majestic circles. From the large quantity of dung on the rocks, they must have long frequented this cliff; and probably they both roost and breed there. Having gorged themselves with carrion on the plains below, they retire to these favourite ledges to digest their food in quietness. From these facts, the Condor must, to a certain degree be considered, like the Gallinazo ( Cathartes atratus ), a gregarious bird. In this part of the country they live almost entirely on the guanacoes, which either have died a natural death, or, as more commonly happens, have been killed by the pumas. I believe, from what I saw in Patagonia, that they do not, on ordinary occasions, extend their daily excursions to any great distance from their regular sleeping places.
The condors may oftentimes be seen at a great height, soaring over a certain spot in the most graceful spires and circles. On some occasions I am sure that they do this for their sport; but on others, the Chileno countryman tells you, that they are watching a dying animal, or the puma devouring its prey. If the condors glide down, and then suddenly all rise together, the Chileno knows that it is the puma, which, watching the carcass, has sprung out to drive away the robbers. Besides feeding on carrion, the condors frequently attack young goats and lambs. Hence the shepherds train their dogs, the moment the enemy passes over, to run out, and looking upwards, to bark violently. The Chilenos destroy and catch numbers; two methods are used: one is to place a carcass within an enclosure of sticks on a level piece of ground, and when the condors have gorged themselves to gallop up on horseback to the entrance, and thus enclose them: for when this bird has not space to run, it cannot give its body sufficient momentum to rise from the ground. The second method is to mark the trees in which, frequently to the number of five or six, they roost together, and then at night to climb up and noose them; they are such heavy sleepers, as I have myself witnessed, that this is not a difficult task. At Valparaiso I have seen a living condor sold for sixpence, but the common price is eight or ten shillings. One which I saw brought in for sale, had been lashed with a rope, and was much injured; but the moment the line was cut by which its bill was secured, it began, although surrounded by people, ravenously to tear a piece of carrion. In a garden at the same place, between twenty and thirty of these birds were kept alive; they were fed only once a week, yet they appeared to be in pretty good health. * The Chileno countrymen assert, that the condor will live and retain its powers between five and six weeks without eating: I cannot answer for the truth of this fact, but it is a cruel experiment, which very likely has been tried.
When an animal is killed in this country, it is well known that the condors, like other carrion vultures, gain the intelligence and congregate in a manner which often appears inexplicable. In most cases, it must not be overlooked, that the birds have discovered their prey, and have picked the skeleton clean, before the flesh is in the least degree tainted. Remembering the opinion of M. Audubon on the deficient smelling powers of such birds, I tried in the above mentioned garden, the following experiment. The condors were tied, each by a rope, in a long row at the bottom of a wall. Having folded a piece of meat in white paper, I walked backwards and forwards, carrying it in my hand at the distance of about three yards from them; but no notice whatever was taken of it. I then threw it on the ground within one yard of an old cock bird; he looked at it for a moment with attention, but then regarded it no more. With a stick I pushed it closer and closer, until at last he touched it with his beak: the paper was then instantly torn off with fury, and at the same moment every bird in the long row began struggling and flapping its wings. Under the same circumstances, it would have been quite impossible to have deceived a dog.
When the condors in a flock are wheeling round and round any spot, their flight is beautiful. Except when they rise from the ground, I do not recollect ever to have seen one flap its wings. Near Lima, I watched several of these birds for a quarter and half-an-hour, without once taking off my eyes. They moved in large curves, sweeping in circles, descending and ascending without once flapping. As several glided close over my head, I intently watched, from an oblique position, the separate and terminal feathers of the wing; if there had been the least vibratory movement, their outlines would have been blended together, but they were seen distinct against the blue sky. The head and neck were moved frequently, and apparently with force. If the bird wished to descend, the wings were for a moment collapsed; and then, when again expanded with an altered inclination, the momentum gained by the rapid descent, seemed to urge the bird upwards, with the even and steady movement of a paper kite. It was a beautiful spectacle thus to behold these great vultures hour after hour, without any apparent exertion, wheeling and gliding over mountain and river.
In the garden at Valparaiso, where so many condors were kept alive, I observed that all the hens had the iris of their eyes bright red, but the cocks yellowish-brown. In a young bird, whose back was brown, and ruff not white, (but which must have been at least nearly a year old, as it was then the spring) I observed that the eye was dark brown: upon examination after death, this proved to be a female, and therefore I suppose the colour of the iris changes at the same time with the plumage.
1. C ATHARTES ATRATUS. Rich. and Swain .
Cathartes urubu, D Orbigny . Voy. Ois.
Vultur atratus, Bartram , p. 287.
jota, Jardines Wilson, vol. iii. p. 236.
, Bonaparte s List, p. 1.
Gallinazo or Cuervo of the Spanish inhabitants of America; and Black Vulture or Carrion Crow of the English of that continent.
T HESE birds, I believe, are never found further south, than the neighbourhood of the Rio Negro, in latitude 41 : I never saw one in southern Patagonia, or in Tierra del Fuego. They appear to prefer damp places, especially the vicinity of rivers; and thus, although abundant both at the Rio Negro and Colorado, they are not found on the intermediate plains. Azara * states, that there existed a tradition in his time, that on the first arrival of the Spaniards in the Plata, these birds were not found in the neighbourhood of Monte Video, but that they subsequently followed the inhabitants from more northern districts. M. Al. D Orbigny, in reference to this statement, observes that these vultures, although common on the northern bank of the Plata, and likewise on the rivers south of it, are not found in the neighbourhood of Buenos Ayres, where the immense slaughtering establishments are attended by infinite numbers of Polybori and gulls. M. D Orbigny supposes that their absence is owing to the scarcity of trees and bushes in the Pampas; but this view, I think, will hardly hold good, inasmuch as the country near Bahia Blanca, where the Gallinazo (together with the carrion-feeding gull) is common, is as bare, if not more so, than the plains near Buenos Ayres. I have never seen the Gallinazo in Chile; and Molina, who was aware of the difference between the C. atratus and C. aura , has not noticed it; yet, on the opposite side of the Cordillera, near Mendoza, it is common. They do not occur in Chiloe, or on the west coast of the continent south of that island. In Wilson s Ornithology it is said that the carrion crow (as this bird is called in the United States) is seldom found on the Atlantic to the northward of Newbern, lat. 35 North Carolina. But in Richardson s Fauna Boreali-Americana, it is mentioned, on the authority of Mr. David Douglas, that on the Pacific side of the continent, it is common on the marshy islands of the Columbia, and in the neighbourhood of Lewis s and Clark s rivers (45 -47 N.) It has, therefore, a wider range in the northern than in the southern half of the continent. These vultures certainly are gregarious; for they seem to have pleasure in each other s society, and are not solely brought together by the attraction of a common prey. On a fine day, a flock may often be seen at a great height; each bird wheeling round and round in the most graceful evolutions. This is evidently done for their sport; or, perhaps, is connected (for a similar habit may sometimes be observed during the breeding season amongst our common rooks) with their matrimonial alliances.
2. C ATHARTES AURA . Illi .
Vultur aura, Linn .
, Jardine s Wilson , vol. iii. p. 226.
Vultur jota, Molina , Compendio de la Hist, del Reyno de Chile, vol i. p. 296.
Turkey-buzzard and Carrion Crow of the English in America.
T HIS bird has a wide geographical range, being found from 55 S. to Nova Scotia (according to Wilson, in Jardine s edition, vol. iii. p. 231,) in 45 N.; or exactly one hundred degrees of latitude. Its lesser range in Northern than in Southern America is probably due to the more excessive nature of the climate in the former hemisphere. It is said to be partly migatory during winter, in the Northern and even in the Middle States, and likewise on the shores of the Pacific. The C. aura is found in the extreme parts of Tierra del Fuego, and on the indented coast, covered with thick forests, of West Patagonia, (but not on the arid plains of Eastern Patagonia,) in Chile, where it is called Jote, in Peru, in the West Indies; and, according to Wilson, it remains even during winter, in New Jersey and Delaware, latitude 40 . It and one of the family of Polyborin are the only two carrion-feeding hawks, which have found their way to the Falkland Islands. The Turkey buzzard, as it is generally called by the English, may be recognized at a great distance from its lofty, soaring and most graceful flight. It is generally solitary, or, at most, sweeps over the country in pairs. In Tierra del Fuego, and on the west coast of Patagonia, it must live exclusively on what the sea throws up, and on dead seals: wherever these animals in herds were sleeping on the beach, there this vulture might be seen, patiently standing on some neighbouring rock. At the Falkland Islands it was tolerably common; but sometimes there would not be a single one near the settlement for several days together, and then many would suddenly appear. They were usually shy; a disposition which is remarkable, as being different from that of almost every other bird in this Archipelago. May we infer from this that they are migratory, like those of the northern hemisphere? In a female specimen killed there, the skin of the head was intermediate in colour between scarlet and cochineal red, * and the iris dark-coloured. D Orbigny describes the iris as being bright scarlet; whilst Azara says it is jaune l ger. Is this difference owing to the sex and age, as certainly is the case with the condors? As a considerable degree of confusion has prevailed in the synonyms of this and the foregoing species, caused apparently by a doubt to which of them Molina applied the name of Jote , I would wish to call attention to the fact, that at the present time the C. aura in Chile goes by the name of Jote . Moreover, I think Molina s description by itself might have decided the question; he says, the head of the Vultur jota is naked, and covered only with a wrinkled and reddish (roxiza) skin.
* I measured a specimen, which I killed there: it was from tip to tip of wing, eight and a half feet; and from end of beak to end of tail four feet.
* I noticed that several hours before any of the Condors died, all the lice with which they are infested, crawled to the outside feathers. I was told, that this always happened.
In the case of the Cathartes Aura , Mr. Owen, in some notes read before the Zoological Society, (See Magazine of Nat. Hist. New Ser. vol. i. p. 638.) has demonstrated from the developed form of the olfactory nerves, that this bird must possess an acute sense of smell. It was mentioned on the same evening, in a communication from Mr. Sells, that on two occasions, persons in the West Indies having died, and their bodies not being buried till they smelt offensively, these birds congregated in numbers on the roof of the house. This instance appears quite conclusive, as it was certain, from the construction of the buildings, that they must have gained the intelligence by the sense of smell alone, and not by that of sight. It would appear from the various facts recorded, that carrion-feeding hawks possess both senses, in a very high degree.
* Voyage dans l Am rique M ridionale, vol. iii. p. 24.
* In this work, whenever the particular name of any colour is given, or it is placed within commas, it implies, that it is taken from comparison with Patrick Syme s edition of Werner s Nomenclature of Colours.
F AMILY -FALCONID .
S UB -F AM . POLYBORIN , Swains . (Caracarid , D Orbigny.)
P OLYBORUS B RASILIENSIS. Swains .
Polyborus vulgaris, Vieillot .
Falco Brasiliensis Auctorum; Caracara of Azara; Tharu of Molina; and Carrancha of the inhabitants of La Plata.
T HIS is one of the commonest birds in South America, and has a wide geographical range. It is found in Mexico and in the West Indies. It is also, according to M. Audubon, an occasional visitant to the Floridas; it takes its name from Brazil, but is no where so common as on the grassy savannahs of La Plata. It generally follows man, but is sometimes found even on the most desert plains of Patagonia: in the northern part of that region, numbers constantly attended the line of road between the Rio Negro and the Colorado, to devour the carcasses of the animals which chanced to perish from fatigue. Although abundant on the open plains of this eastern portion of the continent, and likewise on the rocky and barren shores of the Pacific, nevertheless it inhabits the borders of the damp and impervious forests of Tierra del Fuego and of the broken coast of West Patagonia, even as far south as Cape Horn. The Carranchas (as the Polyborus Brasiliensis is called in La Plata) together with the P. chimango , attend in great numbers the estancias and slaughtering houses in the neighbourhood of the Plata. If an animal dies in the plain, the Cathartes atratus or Gallinazo commences the feast, and then these two carrion-feeding hawks pick the bones clean. Although belonging to closely allied genera, and thus commonly feeding together, they are far from being friends. When the Carrancha is quietly seated on the branch of a tree, or on the ground, the Chimango often continues flying backwards and forwards for a long time, up and down in a semicircle, trying each time, at the bottom of the curve, to strike its larger relative. The Carrancha takes little notice, except by bobbing its head. Although the Carranchas frequently assemble in numbers, they are not gregarious; for in desert places they may be seen solitary, or more commonly by pairs. Besides the carrion of large animals, these birds frequent the borders of streams and the sea-beach, for the sake of picking up whatever the waters may cast on shore. In Tierra del Fuego, and on the west coast of Patagonia, they must live almost exclusively on this last means of supply.
The Carranchas are said to be very crafty, and to steal great numbers of eggs; they attempt also, together with the Chimango, to pick the scabs off the sore backs of both horses and mules. On the one hand, the poor animal, with its ears down and its back arched; and, on the other, the hovering bird, eyeing at the distance of a yard, the disgusting morsel, form a picture which has been described by Captain Head with his own peculiar spirit and accuracy. The Carranchas kill wounded animals; but Mr. Bynoe (the surgeon of the Beagle) saw one seize in the air a live partridge, which, however, escaped, and was for some time chased on the ground. I believe this circumstance is very unusual: at all events there is no doubt that the chief part of their sustenance is derived from carrion. A person will discover their necrophagous habits by walking out on one of the desolate plains, and there lying down to sleep: when he awakes, he will see on each surrounding hillock, one of these birds patiently watching him with an evil eye. It is a feature in the landscape of these countries, which will be recognised by every one who has wandered over them. If a party goes out hunting with dogs and horses, it will be accompanied during the day, by several of these attendants. The uncovered craw of the Carrancha, after feeding, protrudes from its breast; at such times it is, and indeed generally, an inactive, tame, and cowardly bird. Its flight is generally heavy and slow, like that of the English carrion crow, whose place it so well supplies in America. It seldom soars; but I have twice seen one at a great height gliding through the air with much ease. It runs (in contradistinction to hopping), but not quite so quickly as some of its congeners. At times the Carrancha is noisy, but is not generally so; its cry is loud, very harsh and peculiar, and may be compared to the sound of the Spanish guttural g , followed by a rough double r r . Perhaps the Spaniards of Buenos Ayres, from this cause, have called it Carrancha. Molina, who says it is called Tharu in Chile, states, that when uttering this cry, it elevates its head higher and higher, till at last, with its beak wide open, the crown almost touches the lower part of the back. This fact, which has been doubted, is true; for I have myself several times seen them with their heads backwards, in a completely inverted position. The Carrancha builds a large coarse nest, either in a low cliff, or in a bush or lofty tree. To these observations I may add, on the high authority of Azara, whose statements have lately been so fully confirmed by M. D Orbigny, that the Carrancha feeds on worms, shells, slugs, grasshoppers, and frogs; that it destroys young lambs by tearing the umbilical cord: and that it pursues the Gallinazos and gulls which attend the slaughtering-houses, till these birds are compelled to vomit up any carrion they may have lately gorged. Lastly, Azara states that several Carranchas, five or six together, will unite in chase of large birds, even such as herons. All these facts show that it is a bird of very versatile habits and considerable ingenuity.
I am led to suppose that the young birds of this species sometimes congregate together. On the plains of Santa Cruz (lat. 50 S. in Patagonia), I saw in the month of April, or early autumn, between twenty and thirty Polybori, which I at first thought would form a species distinct from P. Brasiliensis . Amongst those I killed, there were some of both sexes; but the ovarium in the hens was only slightly granular. The plumage of the different individuals was nearly similar; and in none appeared like that of an adult bird, although certainly not of a very young one. Having mentioned these circumstances to Mr. Gould, he likewise suspected it would form a new species; but the differences appear so trifling between it and the specimens of young birds in the British Museum and in the Museum of the Zoological Society, and likewise of the figure of a young bird given by Spix, (Avium Species Nov , vol. i. p. 3.), that I have thought it advisable merely to allude to the circumstance. In my specimen, which is a cock, the head, instead of being of a dark brown, which is the usual character of even very immature birds, is of a pale rusty brown. The bill and cere are less produced than in the adult P. Brasiliensis; and the cere is of a brighter colour, than what appears to be usual in the young of this species. In other respects there is such a perfect similarity between them, that I do not hesitate to consider my specimen as a young bird of the P. Brasiliensis in one of its states of change;-and to be subject to great variation of plumage during growth, is known to be a character common to the birds of this sub-family. It may, however, possibly be some variety of the P. Brasiliensis , for this bird seems subject to variation: Azara (Voyage dans l Am rique M ridionale, vol. iii. p. 35.) remarks, Il y a des individus dont les teintes sont plus faibles, ou d un brun p le, avec des taches sur la poitrine, et d autres qui ont des couleurs plus fonc es; j ai d crit ceux qui tiennent le milieu entre les uns et les autres.
I have myself more than once observed a single very pale-coloured bird, in form like the P. Brasiliensis , mingled with the other carrion-feeding hawks on the banks of the Plata; and there is now in the British Museum a specimen, which may be considered as partly an albino. Spix, on the other hand, (Avium Species Nov , p. 3.) has described some specimens from the coast of Brazil, as being remarkable from the darkness of the plumage of their wings.
M ILVAGO, Spix .
Several new genera have lately been established to receive certain species of the sub-family of Polyborin , and consequently great confusion exists in their arrangement. Mr. George R. Gray has been kind enough to give me the following observations, by which it appears he has clearly made out, that Spix s genus Milvago , is that which ought to be retained. M. D Orbigny has made two sections in the genus Polyborus , according as the craw is covered with feathers, or is naked, and he states that the P. Brasiliensis is the only species which comes within the latter division; but we shall afterwards see that the Falco Nov Zelandi , Auct. (the Milvago leucurus of this work) has a naked craw, which is largely protruded after the bird has eaten. M. D Orbigny has also instituted the genus Phalcob nus , to receive a bird of this sub-family, with the following characters:
Bec fortement comprim , sans aucune dent ni sinus, commissure tr s-arqu e son extr mit ; cire along e et droite; un large espace nu entourant la partie ant rieure et inf rieure de l il, et s tendant sur toute la mandibule inf rieure; tarses emplum s sur un tiers de leur longueur, le reste r ticul ; doigts longs, semblables ceux des gallinac s, termin s par les ongles longs, deprim s et largis, tr s-peu arqu s, toujours extr mit obtuse ou fortement us e; ailes de la famille, la troisi me penne plus longue que les autres.
Mr. George R. Gray, however, has pointed out to me that Spix, (in his Avium Species Nov ) ten years since, made a division in this sub-family, from the rounded form of the nostril of one of the species, namely, the M. ochrocephalus of his work, or the Chimachima of Azara. And Mr. Gray thinks, that all the species may be grouped much more nearly in relation to their affinities by this character, than by any other: he further adds;- The only difference which I can discover between this latter genus ( Milvago ), and D Orbigny s ( Phalcob nus ), is, that in the latter the bill is rather longer, and not quite so elevated in the culmen as in the former; and these characters must be considered too trivial for the foundation of a generic division. I, therefore, propose to retain Spix s genus, Milvago , for all those Polyborin which possess rounded nostrils with an elevated bony tubercle in the centre . They were once considered to form three distinctgenera, viz.-Milvago, Spix . (Polyborus, Vieill . Halia tus, Cuv . Aquila, Meyen .)-Senex, Gray . (Circa tus, Less .)-Phalcob nus, D Orb . but a careful comparison of the several species, shows a regular gradation in structure from one to the other, which induces me to consider them as only forming two sections of one genus. Those which have the bill short, with the culmen arched, and are of small size, slender form, and with the tarsi rather long and slender, are-
1. Milvago ochrocephalus, Spix .
Polyborus chimachima; Vieill . (young).
Falco degener, Licht .
Halia tus chimachima, Less .
2. Milvago pezoporos, nob .
Aquila pezopora, Meyen .
3. Milvago chimango, n .
Polyborus chimango, Vieill .
Halia tus chimango, Less .
Those which have a buteo-like appearance, and with rather short and stout tarsi, are,
7. Milvago leucurus, n .
Falco leucurus, Forster s Drawings No. 34.
Falco Nov Zealandi , Gm .
Australis, Lath .
Circa tus antarcticus, Less .
8. Milvago albogularis, n .
Polyborus (Phalcob nus?) albogularis, Gould .
9. Milvago montanus, n .
Phaleob nus montanus, D Orbig .
10. Milvago megalopterus, n .
Aquila megaloptera, Meyen .
1. M ILVAGO PEZOPOROS.
Aquila pezopora, Meyen . Nov. Act. Phys. Med. Acad. C s. Leo. Car. Nat. Cur. suppl. 1834. p. 62. pl. VI.
I obtained two specimens of this bird, one from Port Desire, in Patagonia, and another at the extreme southern point of Tierra del Fuego. Meyen * describes it as common on the plains of Chile, and on the mountains to an elevation of 4000 or 5000 feet. As M. D Orbigny does not notice this species, I presume it is not found on the Atlantic side of the continent, so far north as the Rio Negro, where he resided for some time. The habits and general appearance of M. chimango and this bird are so entirely similar, that I did not perceive that the species were different; hence I cannot speak with certainty of their range, but it would appear probable that the M. pezoporus replaces in Chile, Tierra del Fuego and Southern Patagonia the M. chimango of La Plata. In the same manner the M. chimango is replaced between the latitudes of Buenos Ayres and Corrientes by a third closely allied species, the M. ochrocephalus . D Orbigny, (p. 614, in the Zoological part of his work) speaking of the Chimango, says, Il n est pas tonnant qu on ait long-temps confondu cette esp ce avec le falco degener , Illiger, (the M. ochrocephalus ) et qu on l ait cru de sa famille. Il est impossible de pr senter plus de rapports de forme et surtout de couleur. Nous les avions, nous-m me confondus au premier abord; mais, en remarquant, ult rieurement, que le sujet que nous regardions comme le m le ne se trouvait qu Corrientes, tandis qu il y avait seulement des femelles sur les rives de la Plata, l tude plus attentive des moeurs de ces oiseaux, et les localit s respectives qu habite chacun d eux, ne tarda pas nous y faire reconna tre, avec Azara, deux esp ces vraiment tr s-distinctes; mais qui, depuis, ont encore t confondues, sous la m me nom, par M. la Prince Maximilien de Neuwied. * I may observe that the figure given in Meyen s work, has the iris coloured bright red, instead of which it should have been brown.
2. M ILVAGO CHIMANGO.
Polyborus chimango, Vieill .
Halia tus chimango, Less .
Chimango, Azar . Voyage, vol. iii. p. 35.
My specimen was obtained at Maldonado, on the banks of the Plata. In the following short account of the habits of this bird, it must be understood that I have confounded together, the M. chimango and the M. pezoporus; but I am certain that almost every remark is applicable to both species. From what has been said under the last head, it may be inferred, that both of these allied birds have comparatively limited ranges, compared with that of the P. Brasiliensis . Azara says the Chimango (and he first distinguished this species from the M. ochrocephalus , or M. chimachima ) is rarely found so far north as Paraguay. D Orbigny saw the Chimango ( M. pezoporus? ) at Arica in lat. 16 , and I killed the M. pezoporus in the extreme southern point of America, in lat. 55 30 south.
The Chimango, in La Plata, lives chiefly on carrion, and generally is the last bird of its tribe which leaves the skeleton, and hence it may frequently be seen standing within the ribs of a cow or horse, like a bird in a cage. The Chimango often frequents the sea-coast and the borders of lakes and swamps, where it picks up small fish. It is truly omnivorous, and will eat even bread, when thrown out of a house with other offal. I was also assured that in Chiloe, these birds (probably in this district the M. pezoporus ) materially injure the potato crops, by stocking up the roots when first planted. In the same island, I saw them following by scores the plough, and feeding on worms and larv of insects. I do not believe that they kill, under any circumstances, even small birds or animals. They are more active than the Carranchas, but their flight is heavy; I never saw one soar; they are very tame; are not gregarious; commonly perch on stone walls, and not upon trees. They frequently utter a gentle, shrill scream.
3. M ILVAGO LEUCURUS.
Falco leucurus, Forster s Drawings, No. 34. MS.
Nov Zclandi , Gm .
australis, Lath .
Circa tus antarcticus, Less .
It will be observed in the above list of synonyms, which I have given on the authority of Mr. G. R. Gray, that this bird, although possessing well marked characters, has received several specific names. Mr. Gray s discovery of Forster s original drawing with the name F. leucurus written on it, I consider very fortunate, as it was indispensable that the names by which it is mentioned in most ornithological works, namely, Falco or Polyborus Nov Zelandi , should be changed. There is not, I believe, the slightest reason for supposing that this bird has ever been found in New Zealand. All the specimens which of late years have been brought to England have come from the Falkland Islands, or the extreme southern portion of South America. The sub-family, moreover, to which it belongs, is exclusively American; and I do not know of any case of a land bird being common to this continent and New Zealand. The origin of this specific name, which is so singularly inappropriate, as tending to perpetuate a belief which would form a strange anomaly in the geographical distribution of these birds, may be explained by the circumstance of specimens having been first brought to Europe by the naturalists during Captain Cook s second voyage, during which New Zealand was visited, and a large collection made there. In the homeward voyage, however, Cook anchored in Christmas Sound, in Tierra del Fuego, and likewise in Staten Land: describing the latter place he says, I have often observed the eagles and vultures sitting on the hillocks among the shags, without the latter, either young or old, being disturbed at their presence. It may be asked how these birds of prey live? I suppose on the carcasses of seals and birds, which die by various causes; and probably not few, as they are so numerous. From this description I entertain very little doubt that Cook referred to the Cathartes aura and Milvago leucurus , both of which birds inhabit these latitudes, as we shall hereafter show.
The plumage in the two sexes of this species differs in a manner unusual in the family to which it belongs. The description given in all systematic works is applicable, as I ascertained by dissection, only to the old females; namely, back and breast black, with the feathers of the neck having a white central mark following the shaft,-tectrices, with a broad white band at extremity; thighs and part of the belly rufous-red; beak ash gray, with cere and tarsi Dutch orange.
M ALE of smaller size than female: dark brown; with tail, pointed feathers of shoulders and base of primaries, pale rusty brown. On the breast, that part of each feather which is nearly white in the female, is pale brown: bill black, cere white, tarsi gray. As may be inferred from this description, the female is a much more beautiful bird than the male, and all the tints, both of the dark and pale colours, are much more strongly pronounced. From this circumstance, it was long before I would believe that the sexes were as here described. But the Spaniards, who are employed in hunting wild cattle, and who (like the aboriginal inhabitants of every country) are excellent practical observers, constantly assured me that the small birds with gray legs were the males of the larger ones with legs and cere of an orange colour, and thighs with rufous plumage.
The Y OUNG M ALE can only be distinguished from the adult bird by its beak not being so black, or cere so white; and likewise in a trifling difference of plumage, such as in the markings of the pointed feathers about the head and neck, being more like those of the female than of the old cock. One specimen, which I obtained at the Falkland Islands, I suppose is a one-year-old female; but its organs of generation were smooth: in size larger than the male; the tail dark brown, with the tip of each feather pale colour, instead of being almost black with a white band; under tail-coverts dark brown, instead of rufous; thighs only partly rufous, and chiefly on the inner sides; feathers on breast and shoulder like those of male, with part near shaft brown; those on back of head with white, like those of adult females. Beak, lower mandible gray, upper black and gray (in the old female the whole is pale gray); the edge of cere and the soles of the feet orange, instead of the whole of the cere, tarsi, and toes being thus coloured. The circumstance of the young birds of, at least, one year and a half old, as well as of the adult males, being brown coloured, will, I believe, alone account for the singular fewness of the individuals with rufous thighs, a fact which at first much surprised me.
The Milvago leucurus is exceedingly numerous at the Falkland Islands, and, as an old sealer who had long frequented these seas remarked to me, this Archipelago appears to be their metropolis. I was informed, by the same authority, that they are found on the Diego Ramirez Rocks, the Il Defonso islands, and on some others, but never on the mainland of Tierra del Fuego. This statement I can corroborate to a certain degree, since I never saw one in the southern part of Tierra del Fuego, near Cape Horn, which was twice visited during our voyage. They are not found on Georgia, or on the other antarctic islands. In many respects these hawks very closely resemble in their habits the P. Brasiliensis . They live on the flesh of dead animals, and on marine productions. On the Ramirez Rocks, which support no vegetation, and therefore no land-animals, their entire sustenance must depend upon the sea, At the Falkland Islands they were extraordinarily tame and fearless; and constantly haunted the neighbourhood of the houses to pick up all kinds of offal. If a hunting party in the country killed a beast, these birds immediately congregated from all quarters of the horizon; and standing on the ground in a circle, they patiently awaited for their feast to commence. After eating, their uncovered craws are largely protruded, giving to them a disgusting appearance. I mention this particularly, because M. D Orbigny says that the P. Brasiliensis is the only bird of this family in which the craw is much developed. They readily attack wounded birds; one of the officers of the Beagle told me he saw a cormorant in this state fly to the shore, where several of these hawks immediately seized upon it, and hastened its death by their repeated blows. I have been told that several have been seen to wait together at the mouth of a rabbit hole, and seize on the animal as it comes out. This is acting on a principle of union, which is sufficiently remarkable in birds of prey; but which is in strict conformity with the fact stated by Azara, namely, that several Carranchas unite together in pursuit of large birds, even such as herons.
The Beagle was at the Falkland Islands only during the early autumn (March), but the officers of the Adventure, who were there in the winter, mentioned many extraordinary instances of the boldness and rapacity of these birds. The sportsmen had difficulty in preventing the wounded geese from being seized before their eyes; and often, when having cautiously looked round, they thought they had succeeded in hiding a fine bird in some crevice of the rocks, on their return, they found, when intending to pick up their game, nothing but feathers. One of these hawks pounced on a dog which was lying asleep close by a party, who were out shooting; and they repeatedly flew on board the vessel lying in the harbour, so that it was necessary to keep a good look-out to prevent the hide used about the ropes, being torn from the rigging, and the meat or game from the stern. They are very mischievous and inquisitive; and they will pick up almost anything from the ground: a large black glazed hat was carried nearly a mile, as was a pair of heavy balls, used in catching wild cattle. Mr. Usborne experienced, during the survey, a severe loss, in a small Kater s-compass, in a red morocco case, which was never recovered. These birds are, moreover quarrelsome, and extremely passionate; it was curious to behold them when, impatient, tearing up the grass with their bills from rage. They are not truly gregarious; they do not soar, and their flight is heavy and clumsy. On the ground they run with extreme quickness, putting out one leg before the other, and stretching forward their bodies, very much like pheasants. The sealers, who have sometimes, when pressed by hunger, eaten them, say that the flesh when cooked is quite white, like that of a fowl, and very good to eat-a fact which I, as well as some others of a party from the Beagle, who, owing to a gale of wind, were left on shore in northern Patagonia, until we were very hungry, can answer for, is far from being the case with the flesh of the Carrancha, or Polyborus Brasiliensis . It is a strange anomaly that any of the Falconid should possess such perfect powers of running as is the case with this bird, and likewise with the Phalcob nus montanus of D Orbigny. It perhaps, indicates an obscure relationship with the Gallinaceous order-a relation which M. D Orbigny suggests is still more plainly shown in the Secretary Bird, which he believes represents in Southern Africa, the Polyborin of America.
The M. leucurus is a noisy bird, and utters several harsh cries; of which, one is so like that of the English rook, that the sealers always call it by this name. It is a curious circumstance, as shewing how, in allied species, small details of habit accompany similar structure, that these hawks throw their heads upwards and backwards, in the same strange manner, as the Carranchas (the Tharu of Molina) have been described to do. The M. leucurus , builds on the rocky cliffs of the sea-coast, but (as I was informed) only on the small outlying islets, and never on the two main islands: this is an odd precaution for so fearless a bird.
4. M ILVAGO ALBOGULARIS.
P LATE I.
Polyborns, (Phalcob nus) albogularis, Gould , Proceedings of Zoolog. Soc. Part V. (Jan. 1837.) p. 9.
M. F m. fuscescenti - niger , marginibus plumarum inter scapulas fulvis; primariis secundariisque albo ad apicem notatis; gul , pectore, corporeque subt s albis; lateribus fusco sparsis; rostro livido , lineis nigris ornato; cera tarsisque flavis .
L ONG . tot. 20 unc. 1/2; rostri, 1 5/8; al , 15 3/4; caud , 9; tarsi, 3.
Description of female specimen , believed to be applicable to both sexes .
C OLOUR. -Head, back, upper wing coverts pitch black, passing into liver brown; feathers on back of neck and shoulders terminating in a yellowish-brown tip, of which tint the external portion of the primaries, and nearly the whole of the tertiaries partake. Tail liver brown, with a terminal white band nearly one inch broad; base of the tectrices white, irregularly marked with brown: upper tail coverts white. All the feathers of the wing tipped with white, their bases irregularly barred with transverse marks of brown and white. Under surface .-Chin, throat, breast, belly, thighs, under tail-coverts, under lining of wings, and edge of shoulders perfectly white. On the flanks, however, there are some brown feathers irregularly interspersed; and on the lower part of the breast, most of the feathers show a most obscure margin of pale brown. Bill horn-colour. Cere and tarsi yellow.
F ORM .-Cere and nostril as in the M. Leucurus , but the bill not quite so strong. Feathers on the sides and back of head narrow and rather stiff; those on the shoulders obtusely pointed,-which character of plumage is very general in this sub-family. Wing: fourth primary very little longer than the third or the fifth, which are equal to each other. First primary three inches shorter than the fourth or longest, and more nearly equal to the sixth than to the seventh. Extremity of wing reaching to within about an inch and a half of the tail. Tarsi reticulated, with four large scales at the base: upper part covered with plumose feathers for about three quarters of an inch below the knee; but these feathers hang down and cover nearly half of the leg. Middle toe with fifteen scales, outer ones with about nine. Claws of nearly the same degree of strength, curvature and breadth as in Polyborus Brasiliensis , or in M. leucurus , but sharper than those of the latter.

Inch.
Total length
20 1/2
Tail
9
Wings when folded
15 3/4
From tip of beak to anterior edge of eye
9/10
Tarsus from soles of feet to knee joint
3 1/2
Hind claw measured in straight line from tip to root
8/10
Claw of middle toe, a twentieth less than that of the hind one.

Habitat, Santa Cruz, 50 S. Patagonia. ( April .)
Mr. Gould, at the time of describing this species, entertained some doubts whether it might not eventually prove to be the Phalcob nus montanus of D Orbigny, in a state of change. I have carefully compared it with the description of the P. montanus , and certainly, with the exception of the one great difference of M. albogularis having a white breast, whilst that part in the P. montanus is black, the points of resemblance are numerous and exceedingly close. The M. albogularis , appears to be rather larger, and the proportional length of the wing feathers are slightly different; the cere and tarsi are not of so bright a colour; the middle toe has fifteen scales on it instead of having sixteen or seventeen. The black shades of the upper surface are pitchy, instead of having an obscure metallic gloss, and the feathers of the shoulders are terminated with brown, so as to form a collar, which is not represented in the figure of P. montanus , given by M. D Orbigny. Although the main difference between the two birds, is the colour of their breasts, yet it must be observed, that in the M. albogularis there is some indication of an incipient change from white to brown in the plumage of that part. But as M. D Orbigny, who was acquainted with the young birds of the P. montanus , (of which he has given a figure), does not mention so remarkable a modification in its plumage, as must take place on the supposition of M. albogularis being an immature bird of that species; and as the geographical range of the two is so very different, I am induced to consider them distinct. Moreover, on the plains of Santa Cruz, I saw several birds, and they appeared to me similar in their colouring. The M. albogularis is remarkable from the confined locality which it appears to frequent. A few pair were seen during the ascent of the river Santa Cruz, (Lat. 50 S.) to the Cordillera; but not one individual was observed in any other part of Patagonia. They appeared to me to resemble, in their gait and manner of flight, the P. Brasiliensis; but they were rather wilder. They lived in pairs, and generally were near the river. One day I observed a couple standing with the Carranchas and M. pezoporus , at a short distance from the carcass of a guanaco, on which the condors had commenced an attack. These peculiarities of habit are described by M. D Orbigny in almost the same words, as occurring with the P. montanus , both birds frequent desert countries; the P. montanus , however, haunts the great mountains of Bolivia, and this species, the open plains of Patagonia.
In the valleys north of 30 in Chile, I saw several pair, either of this species, or of the P. montanus of D Orbigny, (if, as is probable, they are different) or of some third kind. From the circumstance of its not extending (as I believe) so far south even as the valley of Coquimbo, it is extremely improbable that it should be the M . albogularis ,-an inhabitant of a plain country twenty degrees further south. On the other hand, the P. montanus lives at a great elevation on the mountains of Upper Peru; and therefore it is probable that it might be found in a higher latitude, but at a less elevation. M. D Orbigny says, Elle aime les terrains secs et d pourvus de grands v g taux, qui lui seraient inutiles; car il nous est prouv qu elle ne se perche pas sur les branches. In another part he adds, Elle descend cependant quelquefois jusque pr s de la mer, sur la c te du P rou, mais ce n est que pour peu de temps, et peut tre afin d y chercher momentan ment une nourriture qui lui manque dans son s jour habituel; peut- tre aussi la nature du sol l y attire-t-elle; car elle y trouve les terrains arides qui lui sont propres. * This is so entirely the character of the northern parts of Chile, that, it appears to me extremely probable, that the P. montanus , which inhabits the great mountains of Bolivia, descends, in Northern Chile, to near the shores of the Pacific; but that further south, and on the opposite side of the Cordillera, it is replaced by an allied species,-the M. albogularis of Santa Cruz.
5. M ILVAGO MEGALOPTERUS.
Aquila megaloptera, Meyen , Nov. Act. Acad. C s. Suppl. 1834, p. 64. Pl. VIII.
When ascending the Despoblado, a branch of the valley of Copiap in Northern Chile, I saw several brown-coloured hawks, which at the time appeared new to me, but of which I did not procure a specimen. These I have no doubt were the A. megaloptera of Meyen. In the British Museum there is a specimen, brought from Chile by Mr. Crawley. Mr. G. R. Gray suspects that this bird may eventually prove to be the young of the Phalcob nus montanus of D Orbigny, and as I saw that bird (or another species having a close general resemblance with it) in the valleys of Northern Chile, although not in the immediate vicinity, this supposition is by no means improbable. Meyen s figure at first sight appears very different from that of the young of the P. montanus , given by M. D Orbigny, for in the latter the feathers over nearly the whole body are more distinctly bordered with a pale rufous shade, the thighs barred with the same, and the general tint is of a much redder brown. But with the exception of these differences, which are only in degree, I can find in M. D Orbigny s description no other distinguishing character, whilst on the other hand, there are numerous points of close resemblance between the two birds in the shadings, and even trifling marks of their plumage. Meyen, moreover, in describing the habits of his species, says, it frequents a region just below the limit of perpetual snow, and that it sometimes soars at a great height like a condor. Those which I saw had the general manners of a Polyborus or Milvago , and were flying from rock to rock amongst the mountains at a considerable elevation, but far below the snow-line. In these several respects, there is a close agreement with the habits of the P. montanus , as described by M. D Orbigny. I will only add that the specimen in the British Museum appeared, independently of differences of plumage, distinct from the M. albogularis of Patagonia, from the thinness and greater prolongation of its beak, and the slenderness of its tarsi.
S UB .-F AM .-BUTEONIN .
C RAXIREX . Gould .
Rostrum Buteonis sed longius; mandibul superioris margo rectus; versus apicem subit incurvus. Al elongat . Cera lala. Nares fer rotund , apert . Tarsi mediocres , antic squamis tedi. Digiti magni, fortes; ungues obtus .
M R . G OULD was partly led to institute this genus from the facts communicated to him by me regarding the habits of the following species, which is found in the Galapagos Archipelago, and there supplies the place of the Polybori and Milvagines of the neighbouring continent of America. If a principle of classification founded on habits alone, were admissible, this bird, as will presently be shown, undoubtedly would be ranked with more propriety in the sub-family of Polyborin , than amongst the Buzzards. To the latter it is closely related in the form of its nostrils; in the kind of plumage which covers the head, breast, and shoulders; in the reticulation of the scales on its feet and tarsi, and less closely in the form of its beak. To the Polyborin it manifests an affinity in the great strength and length of its toes and claws, and in the bluntness of the latter; in the nakedness of the cere, in the perfectly uncovered nostrils, in the prolongation and bulk of the bill, in the straightness of the line of commissure, and in the narrow shape of the head. In these several respects, taken conjointly with its habits, this bird supplies a most interesting link in the chain of affinities, by which the true buzzards pass into the great American sub-family of carrion-feeding hawks. I am, indeed, unable to decide, whether I have judged rightly in placing this genus, as first of the Buteonin , instead of last of the Polyborin .
C RAXIREX G ALAPAGOENSIS. Gould .
P LATE II.
Polyborus Galapagoensis. Proceedings of the Zoological Society for January, 1837, p. 9.
C. Mas. adult. Intens fuscus; primariis nigris; secundariarum pogoniis internis transversim albo et fusco striatis; caud cinerascentifusc , transversim lineis angustis et numerosis intens fuscis notat ; rostro obscure corneo; pedibus olivaceo-flavis .
Long tot. 20 1/2 unc.; rostri , 1 1/2; al , 15; caud , 8 1/2; tarsi , 3 1/4.
F m. adult. f min juniori fer similis, pectore tamen fusco .
F m. juv. Capite corporeque intens stramineis, fusco-variegatis; illo in pectore et abdomine pr valente; primariis fusco-nigris; rectricum pogoniis extern cinerascenti-fuscis , intern pallide rosaceis ; utrisque lineis angustis et frequentibus fuscis transversim striatis, apicibus sordide albis; rostro nigrescenti-fusco; pedibus olivaceo-flavis .
Long. tot. 24 unc.; rostri , 1 3/4; al , 17 1/4; caud , 10 1/2; tarsi , 3 1/2.
Description of adult male .
C OLOUR .-Entire dorsal aspect umber brown: base of feathers on hind part of neck, white; base of those on back, irregularly banded with pale fulvous, and the scapulars with a distinct band of it. The inferior feathers of upper tail coverts banded in like manner to their extremities. Tail dusky clove-brown, obscurely marked with darkened transverse narrow bands. Primaries perfectly black towards their extremities, but with the outer edge of their base, gray: inner web banded and freckled with gray, brown, and white, which in the secondaries takes the form of regular bars. Under surface , entirely umber brown, but rather paler than the upper. Lining of wings gray, with irregular transverse brown bars: under-side of tail the same, but paler. Thighs of a rather yellower brown. Bill and cere horn colour, mottled with pale gray: tarsi yellow.
F ORM .-Beak, with apex much arched, both longer and more pointed than it is in the group of the Polyborin . Cere naked, with few bristles; nostrils large, quite uncovered, irregularly triangular, with the angles much rounded, and situated rather above a central line between the culmen and commissure. Fourth primary longest, but third and fifth nearly equal to it; first, four inches and a half shorter than fourth, and equal to the eighth; second shorter than fifth. Extremities of wing reaching within half an inch of end of tail. Tarsi strong, feathered for nearly a third of their length beneath the joint. Scales in narrow, undivided (with the exception in some instances of one) bands, covering the front of tarsus. Toes very strong and rather long, like those of the species of Milvago , and much more so than in the genus Buteo . Hind-toe equal in length to the inner one; but not placed quite so high on the Tarsus as in Polyborus . Basal joints of middle toe covered with small scales, with five large ones towards the extremity. Claws very strong, thick and long, and rather more arched, and broader than in Polyborus Brasiliensis; their extremities obtuse, but not in so great a degree as in some species of Milvago .

Inches.
Total length from tip of bill to end of tail following curvature of body
20 1/2
Tail
8 1/2
Wing, from elbow-joint to extremity of longest primary
15
Bill, from tip to anterior edge of eye measured in a straight line
7/10
Tarsus, from soles of feet to centre of joint
3 1/2
Hind claw from tip to root, measured in straight line
1 1/10
Claw of middle toe
95/100
Old female .
C OLOUR .-Nearly as in young female, but with the breast dark brown.
Young female .
C OLOUR .-Head, back of neck, back, wing coverts and tertiaries barred and mottled, both with pale umber brown (of the same tint as in the male bird) and with pale fulvous orange. On head and back of neck, each feather is of the latter colour, with a mere patch of the brown on its tip; but in the longer feathers, as in the scapulars, upper tail coverts, inner web and part of outer of the tertiaries, each is distinctly barred with the dark brown. Tail as in the old male. Primaries black as in male, with the inner webs nearly white, and marked with short transverse bars. Under surface and thighs of the same fulvous orange, but some of the feathers, especially those on the breast, are marked with small spots of umber brown on their tips. Some of the longer feathers on the flanks, on the under tail coverts, and on the linings of the wing, have irregular bars of the same.
F ORM and S IZE .-Larger and more robust than the male. Total length 24 inches. Tail ten and a half inches long, and therefore longer in proportion to the wings than in the other sex. Wings from joint to end of primaries, 17 1/4.
Habitat, Galapagos Archipelago, ( October ).
This bird is, I believe, confined to the Galapagos Archipelago, where on all the islands, it is excessively numerous.

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